Sunday, November 29, 2015

Garden Journal: Eating Seasonally

What an interesting cool season it has been. I did a salvage harvest of our last hot peepers before setting the chickens loose in the beds. Our one customer has bought 80 pounds so far. Meanwhile I fenced our greens and covered our tender ones though the short freezes we have experienced.  We are doing our best to eat seasonally from our garden and chicken coop.

December looks warmer than average, which gives me the chance to enjoy more greens. I'm thankful to Dominic Carpin of delli Carpini Farm for pointing out to me that one should harvest late in the day and on a sunny day if possible, which is now my practice, to avoid picking greens with too many nitrates in them.

So in the spirit of the holidays, here's a recipe for winter greens over pasta. I adapted it from a Martha Stewart recipe for creamed chard and I've added more of a Mediterranean twist. I suggest a top-quality egg pasta from Italy. You will not be disappointed.

Braised Autumn Greens in Cream Sauce
  • 1/3 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds (big bunch) of coarsely chopped Broccoli Rabe, Swiss Chard, or Broccoli leaves. Remove large stems from the chard before chopping. Chop any Broccoli stems finely.
  • 8 oz. whole milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp black pepper
Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil and garlic and, when translucent, add the greens and stir until their volume is greatly reduced. To me that means "wilting but not dark." They should retain their color and most of their texture.

Remove greens and onion/garlic to a plate and add milk to skillet, stirring in flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir over low-to-medium heat until mixture begins to thicken a bit, then add back the greens mixture. Heat thoroughly, and serve over pasta. Top with grated Romano or Parmesan if you wish and a dash of red pepper.

This makes a great main or a side dish. Happy Holidays!

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